Chicago Theological Seminary
Nagle Hartray Architecture
The University of Chicago
The landscape design of the Chicago Theological Seminary holistically binds distinct spatial and microclimatic areas on and around the Chicago Theological Seminary Building. These spaces include a sanctuary reading garden, a basement light-well, north and south facing entries and a rooftop garden, contributing to its LEED Gold certification for the building design.
The sanctuary reading garden exists as a narrow passage between the Seminary and an adjacent University Press building. A mix of hard and soft spaces creates nooks that intimately soften the hard edges of each building and visually connect the corridor to the Midway Plaisance, while a water feature allows sound to burble into the site, masking the sounds of the city to create a contemplative and spiritual space. The basement light-well incorporates native plantings and boulders on a slope, serving as both visual and textural transition to the building from the street. The green roof plantings, arranged in drifts to mimic natural plant communities, are installed in a thin profile of green roof soil. This effect hides the roof parapets when viewed from the 18’ tall windows of the fourth floor chapel and dining hall. This view provides dramatic visual shifts from the plants to the skyline of both the campus and the buildings of downtown Chicago beyond.